How do you go about choosing trustees & executors in your Will?
The person or people appointed by you to administer your estate when you die are required to fulfil their role of ingathering your estate by:
- paying off debts and expenses (from your funds, not theirs!)
- distributing the estate in accordance with your Will or, if no Will, in terms of the laws of intestate succession.
Without a Will the people appointed by law may be people you do not like, do not trust and do not wish to inherit from you. An executor's role tends to be shorter term - to distribute your estate - but trustees may be in office for a number of years eg to hold funds in trust for under age children.
Here are some tips:
1. Choose two or three people to act together - don't give responsibility to one individual
2. Think about their ages - have at least one who is younger than you
3. Consider having family and non-family trustees/executors
4. Appoint people you know well and trust absolutely
5. Appoint people your beneficiaries trust
6. Appoint someone with good business/financial skills
7. Appoint someone with good organisational/practical skills
8. Don't appoint people who shun responsibility/accountability
9. Check the people you intend to appoint are willing to act
10. Keep the appointments under review - circumstances can change
It is not necessary to appoint a professional person e.g. a solicitor or accountant, but many clients like the peace of mind of knowing that the administration will be done in a proper business-like manner, with full accountability for all assets ingathered and distributed - and the benefit of professional indemnity cover if something goes wrong.
If you would like to make your Will or review your existing one or are an executor or beneficiary needing advice regarding an estate then please get in touch with our team.